D’IBERVILLE – For the second consecutive year, Biloxi is heading to the state football playoffs as the No. 3 seed after blanking rival D’Iberville 35-0 Thursday night at Buddy Singleton Field.
Indians head coach Katlan French said his team has played with a chip on their shoulder the past couple of years after being picked to finish as a number four seed or out of the playoffs altogether.
“Our team has improved and played hard and they take coaching well,” said French. “This feels good.”
The Indians (6-5, 3-2 in 4-7A) controlled the line of scrimmage against the Warriors nearly from start to finish.
“Our O-line is very young and in a lot of spots, very small, but they come to practice and work hard and take care of business every day,” said French.
Over the last month, taking care of business has become a hallmark of Biloxi, winners of three out of their last four games.
“We’re getting better,” said French. “I’m very proud of the improvement we’ve made.”
Leading 14-0, Biloxi came out in the second half and put the game away with a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter.
Jalen Johnson scored his second TD of the game with a 9-yard run that capped a 49-yard drive with 8:03 to play in the third quarter. Defensive lineman Jaquan Thompson then had the pick-six on a 47-yard interception return to make it 28-0.
In the fourth quarter, quarterback Zac Marlin tossed his third touchdown pass of the night – a 14-yard pass to a wide-open Chase Delaughter. Tristan Bourcy booted his fifth extra point that forced the running game clock with 5:38 to play.
“Over the summer, we knew we had a young team but we knew we would get better,” said French. “We just didn’t know how long it would take to get better. I’m very proud of our team and coaches. They’ve worked hard this season.”
Biloxi controlled the first half, taking a 14-0 lead on a pair of touchdown passes from Marlin, who finished the night 12-of-18 for 135 yards.
Martin found Tristain Haynes for a 21-yard scoring strike that capped a 37-yard drive set up by the Biloxi defense holding the Warriors on downs – the first of three possessions that ended on downs for D’Iberville (3-7, 1-4) in the first half. The other two Warriors possessions ended on an interception by Dayshawn McGee and a missed 47-yard field goal as the first half ended.
Just before the half ended, Marlin hooked up with Jalen Johnson on a 13-yard score that capped a 10-play, 64-yard march.
Now the Indians turn their attention to the playoffs, facing Oak Grove in Hattiesburg Nov. 10. The Warriors (9-1, 3-1) rolled to a 48-21 win over rival Petal to secure the No. 2 seed in 3-7A.